40 From Our 40: Dr. James B. Lemler & the Clowes Foundation
Allen Whitehill Clowes loved art, music, horticulture,, and community. As a long-time resident of Indianapolis, Mr. Clowes was actively involved in the city’s cultural and educational scene, serving on several community boards along with the positions of Treasurer and President of the Clowes Fund, the family’s charitable organization. In 1990, he founded the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation which was fully funded by his estate after his death in 2000. The Foundation continues the legacy of Mr. Clowes, supporting non-profit organizations in Central Indiana focused on the arts and humanities.
Dr. James B. Lemler (Jim)was an integral part of the Foundation as a Board officer and director for sixteen years before assuming the role of president in 2019. Dr. Lemler is a consultant and teacher as well as an author of articles and books on leadership education and organizational development. As an ordained minister, Dr. Lemler served the Episcopal Church in various positions across four decades including Rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis where Allen Whitehill Clowes was an active member.
Jim remembers the energy around the opening of the Ronald McDonald House on Limestone Street. At the time his wife, Sharon, worked as psychiatric clinical specialist in the Child Life department at Riley Children’s Hospital (now operating as Riley Children’s Health). As a result of her work, Jim became aware of the many burdens Riley families carry and how Ronald McDonald House can bring care and hope to these families.
To Jim, home is family, gathering, friends, hospitality, safety, and generosity. When asked what he would tell people about Ronald McDonald House, Jim replied, “You will be welcomed to a safe, respectful environment. You will have food and shelter for as long as you need it. The House will be a home to you.”
The Foundation has been a generous supporter of RMHCCIN for more than 20 years. Domestic hospitality is a part of the Clowes tradition and Jim believes Mr. Clowes would appreciate the healing hospitality at Ronald McDonald House and how the House strives to make families whole.